Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Almost missed this week's post, but I pulled a clutch cargo at the last mo' and here you have it! Just a few little nuggets to share, then I'm off to the races--and by races, I mean grocery shopping, making and mailing prints, buying art supplies and working on comics. And speaking of which...                      


I've spent the last few days doing thumbnails for the latest comic project that I'm writing and drawing for Ape Entertainment, which I'm not entirely sure I can talk about yet. For those who don't know, thumbnails are VERY rough (and usually small) drawings that lay out each page of a comic before the final art is drawn. They're kind of like blueprints.

Now, I don't typically thumbnail my pages. My process was always (1) write script (2) draw the pages (3) eat a celebratory cheeseburger.  But my previous stories had always been short vignettes that didn't require much preparation. With this new project, I'm doing one big 48 page story, my longest to date, and I felt I needed to block the action (a theatrical term from my acting days) to assure I had enough material to fill the page count. This also brings to light the ass-backwards process I employ in script writing. Rather than figure out how long a story will be as I write it, I typically write something until I say, "Eh, that feels like it could fill 48 pages" or whatever. Obviously I'm still working out a more fool proof formula for comic production.

Anyway, without divulging too much about what this new comic entails, here is the thumbnail for page 1 of the book:

 I'm currently thumbnailing page 34 of 48, and here's that one:

Inexplicably, my "sketch quality" gets rougher the further I go. And compared to page 1, page 34 is starting to look like a drunk Egyptian's hieroglyphic that he carved with the chisel up his butt. Seriously, I drew better than this when I was two.

For the last few years, Ape has been publishing comics based on the Dreamworks animated characters (Shrek, Madigascar, Kung Fu Panda). I even wrote my first comic script for someone else to illustrate for the Shrek comic around 2009, which I assume saw publication. I've recently been tapped to draw some of these characters for a new Dreamworks book Ape is developing, and in my own style, no less. While I'm capable of drawing licensed characters on model, it's always fun when I can put my own flavor into it. I sent Ape some samples, and if Dreamworks approves them, I'll be working on that in 2012. Here is a sample I drew of the characters from "How To Train Your Dragon" (my favorite Dreamworks flick, and co-directed by my idol, Chris Sanders):
The word has been spread this week that comic publisher Archaia is planning their second volume of Jim Henson's "The Storyteller". Based on Jim's 1989 TV series, "The Storyteller" is narrated by an old man and his dog, and spins tales that hint at familiar themes and archetypes in classic folklore. If you know me at all, then I shouldn't need to explain my lifelong obsession with all things Jim Henson. Suffice to say, I tried to get on the first volume when it came out a year ago. Didn't happen. Now I'm trying to get on the second volume. Sounds like hundreds of comic folk are vying for a spot in the book, so odds are rough. But who knows? Maybe the spirit of Jim still recalls that ten year old aspiring artist who wrote to him all those years ago with his pile of Muppet drawings, and perhaps he'll sway the fates in my favor.

Here's a sketch I did last year of The Storyteller and his Dog:

So that's about it for this week. Catch you next Wednesday with another update. Have a great week!



Mark said...

I like the "Clutch Cargo" reference in your 1st paragraph, though I don't understand it in the context. Most people look at me blankly when I describe Clutch Cargo.

An I can see that this APE project is going to have your usual quota of potty-related humor and other silliness. It will be awesome I'm sure!

JL said...

"I sent Ape some samples, and if Dreamworks approves them, I'll be working on that in 2012."

This is wild, Jay...Dreamworks! Holy Mother!